Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ARTSY: Art Party Boise

When Tahirih Cahill of e11even Shades Studio contacted me in February about coming over and showing what her mobile art studio, Art Party Boise, was all about, I was super pregnant. Like, ready-to-pop-dilated-to-3-centimeters pregnant. So, as excited as I was about learning more about her cool small business idea, I had to wait until May to act on it.

I knew that my super artsy daughters, Lucy and Alice, would love a mother-daughter date night painting, and Tahirih agreed. She sent me several samples of paintings she thought the three of us would like, and be able, to do. Of course I picked the quirky little owl with hipster glasses.

The concept is brilliant: Tahirih or one of her staff artists (that's right, she's had to hire two new gals to help her out given the popularity of her mobile studio of late) comes to your house, or business, or the park, or wherever you choose, brings the supplies, and teaches you how to paint a lovely acrylic piece for your home. There are various sizes and styles to choose from and the idea is that everyone is an artist. She's right.

She got the idea from talking with a fellow mom friend, who wanted to do something fun with her other mama friends, a ladies night out with wine and the like, but all the things that make it hard for mamas to get out - like newborns and the cost of babysitters - were a problem. So, why not bring the mamas night to the mamas in her own comfortable place, making it less expensive and easier? What a great idea! The prices range from about $10-$25 per person, and include all the supplies and you leave with your own masterpiece.


It was a bit of a challenge to find something to paint that would fit the range of 'talent' from my six year old Alice to my thirty-eight year old self. Tahirih did a great job - and walked us through our owl process. I put out some snacks from our new Trader Joes - organic strawberry lemonade and a bowl of kettle corn - and daddy took Arlo for a walk. The whole art party lasted about an hour and a half.

Here's our completed paintings, all hung in a row above our play kitchen in our family room. The cattywampus arrangement wasn't intentional, but I kinda dig it. Fits the playfulness of the paintings and the play area and, well, our family style. In order from left to right is mine, Alice's and Lucy's.

Alice, my ever self-critical artist, didn't love how her owl turned out at first. She said it looked nothing like Tahirih's and looked like a bat. We thought her puffed out wings made her look like she was about to take off in flight. I think she's perfect. Like Tahirih said, "There are no mistakes in art." I couldn't agree more. And, I think, we're all sold on a girls birthday painting party for next spring.

Find our more about Art Party Boise on her website or Facebook page. Thanks, Tahirih!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

KIDDOS: Best Baby Buys {part 1}

So, baby Arlo Valley Brown was born a little over six weeks ago on a gorgeous Friday morning, March 21st. He waited until one day after his due date and the spring equinox because he probably wanted to be an Aries like both of his sisters. He was big and beautiful with the darkest hair, weighing 8 pounds and 14 ounces and measuring in at 21.5 inches. We are over the moon.
Needless to say, I've been busy staring at our bundle of joy and trying to cope with the changes that happen when you have three kids, not to mention my copious volunteer duties around town. Whew. That means no blogging for a while, especially when you have to type one-handed, as baby boy continuously occupies the other.
Daddy's on duty at the moment, and I've wanted to write a little series on best baby buys - sort of my take on a few things I can't recommend more to new moms, especially since this is my third go around. It KINDA makes me an expert. Just sayin'.
{Image courtesy of febriedethan.hubpages.com}
First up, I was lucky (smart) enough to start prenatal water aerobics at just 17 weeks pregnant and I couldn't have made a better move. I don't know why I didn't do it with my other pregnancies, but it was amazing. Just $30 a month for one hour classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings every single week in the warm water of the local rehab hospital pool? It was wonderful. Not to mention the friendships I formed with other beautiful bellied women. Here in Boise you can sign up through St. Lukes Hospital here. If you're expecting, trust me on this.
{Image courtesy of www.theawesomer.com}
My dear friend Kristin had the brilliant (BRILLIANT, I SAY) idea to sign me up for MealTrain, this fantastic and free website where your friends and family can sign up to bring you meals on dates you pre-select. This is perfect for people having babies or in the case of sickness or death or any major life-changing event. We just finished up getting SIX WEEKS worth of food from friends, from homemade feasts to Jimmy Johns delivery to gourmet boxes of ingredients from Blue Apron. The girls loved the surprise dinner menus and I couldn't be more thankful and amazed by the graciousness of others. As my friend Melanie said, "MealTrain is like having a church lady committee without having to go to church." AMEN, sister.
{Image courtesy of The Laurie Berkner Band blog}
Ten years ago when Lucy was born my dear friend Betsy introduced me to Laurie Berkner, who she saw on a cable television show on Nick Jr. She had a CD and it was catchy and cute and not annoying to listen to on repeat. Laurie and her band play and write the kind of music parents love as well, and we quickly became fans. We now own all of her CDs and they get resurrected with each new baby in our family. She has her own little indie label and you can buy her CDs for cheap from there, if you're old school like me, or download them. I can't recommend getting one (or all of them) enough. Take a listen to the song that stole my heart.